October 8, 2015 - VOR is a multi purpose preposition, and could be translated many different ways into English. Unfortunately, prepositions do not match very well across languages. They are very slippery but necessary linguistic entities, and rarely have a literal translation.
In this case, "fünf vor neun" could be 'before/to/until' in English. If you get the basic sense of 'beforeness', it will help with getting the meaning of VOR in any particular German sentence. Picking the best English preposition can be equally tricky.
This is why repetition is so important - eventually you just get used to how the prepositions are used, especially with common phrases for telling time, entering and exiting, approaching and leaving, etc.
So, have patience with yourself! :-)
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
You've either misunderstood the saying or misunderstood the sentence.
The saying "nine to five job" indicates the job goes from 9 am to 5 pm.
The sentence is saying it is five (minutes) to nine (o'clock), as in it is 8:55.
The usage of 'to' in these two contexts are completely different, with the first meaning 'bridging across this time period' and the second meaning 'before/until.'
Till is actually a real word, tyvm.
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition:
1a : a money drawer in a store or bank also : cash register. b : a box, drawer, or tray in a receptacle (such as a cabinet or chest) used especially for valuables. 2a : the money contained in a till. b : a supply of especially ready money. 3. unstratified glacial drift consisting of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders intermingled.
transitive verb : to work by plowing, sowing, and raising crops : cultivate
Conjunction : Until
And as a preposition : 1 or 'til or less commonly til : until 2 chiefly Scotland : to
So yeah, not just a colloquial word, an actual word. You also replied to a post from 6 years ago.
Not according to the Oxford Dictionary which is the authority in the English language. It doesn't recognize the word "til" although it recognizes " 'til " (note the apostrophe) as an abbreviation of "till". And it mentions clearly that "till" is less formal than "until" and that "until" is the natural choice and that it is more commonly used in writing than "till". It identifies the word "til" (without the apostrophe) only as a word from the OLD English and as the origin of the word "till". So unless you are speaking OLD English, there is no such a thing as "til". If we are to accept any dictionary as reference, than according to the Urban Dictionary, nearly every single composition of letters you can think of exists as a word and you will find meanings for it.
To conclude, the post may be 6 years old, but it didn't receive a proper answer until now and other people now and in the future may benefit from the answer.
Why? It's the exact same way in English too. "I had breakfast before going to work." = time "He stood before me and confessed." = space "Let's watch some TV before bed." = time "It happened right before my eyes!" = space It's literally the exact same way that it works in English. And while it's certainly not very common, one could even say "It's five minutes before nine" in English as well.
25 January 2017 - Starcats - Love your screen name!
And yes, all those ways of describing an analog clock are fading. My daughter was born in 1975, and has no problem with analog clocks and their terminology. My son, born in 1982 and despite my attempts to teach him the analog clock terms, has to pause and think about it, and far prefers the digital. Can't say that I blame him - the digital terms are a lot simpler.
We do lose some - the analog clock is often used for directions, most famously by pilots, but also to describe dial positions (washer, dryer, stereo volume), and unconventional intersections.
I wonder if the Germans (and everyone else) are losing their analog terminology too.
thank you! when my late cas kitty died, i started a geeky cat toy business to pay off his huge vet bills and named it "starcats".
and wow, yes, i wonder how if it's more a challenge for people who didn't grow up with analog clocks to translate "[thing] at 3 oclock!", when for me it's almost intuitive.
this is fascinating <3
yes, i also wonder if in other languages the analog terminology is fading.
i know a lot fewer people use "2 bits" than they did when i was growing up. i remember my grandfather, born in 1910, explaining to me how "2 bits" for 25 cents came about: in the west (and other areas) where small coinage was rare, dollar coins were cut into 8 segments like cutting a pie (but more accurately). each "bit" was worth 12.5 cents, so 25 cents was "2 bits". i was born in 1961 and heard "2 bits" all the time growing up (even aside from "shave and haircut, 2 bits", and i knew that it meant 25 cents.
but learning the why fascinated me.
It means "in front of" in the way that "before" means "in front of." If you tried to say "there are five people before nine people" it would not sound like you meant "in front of", but rather that previous to there being nine people, there were first five people. It is possible that one could use this to mean "in front of", but most people would probably not interpret it that way at first, and so that makes it unnatural English. Think of "They stood before me." That's the kind of "in front of" that's going on here.
For everyone trying to say that the phrase "five 'til nine" is invalid, it isn't. It's a very commonly used format for time, and it's a shortened way of saying something to the ilk of "five [minutes remain] until [it is] nine [o'clock]." Granted, the format of "five to nine" is certainly more common, globally speaking. But just because one way of saying is less common than another way doesn't mean that it's wrong. And for everyone else who's trying to say that "five to nine" is invalid, it isn't. It's a very commonly used format for time, and it's a shortened way of saying something to the ilk of "[There are] five [more minutes on the way] to nine [o'clock]."
Aug 1, 2016 - "Es ist fünf vor neun." = "Es (it) ist (is) fünf (five) vor (before) neun (nine)." = It is five (minutes) before nine. English speakers in my area (Seattle) are more likely to say It is five TO nine.
Since the analog clocks have been falling out of use, so have the terms used to describe the analog clock face. In digital, " It is five before/to nine." = 8:55.
Wellll.... The goal, actually, is to translate the given German sentence into English. In your translation, you failed to translate "Es ist" and only translated part of the sentence, so of course it was marked wrong! I commented on here that "It is 5 of 9" is not accepted either, which it should be as it is actually a complete translation. I don't know if "It is five of nine" would work either, but both should.